Effect of Marijuana Smoking on Pulmonary Disease in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Men: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

David R. Lorenz, Hajime Uno, Steven M. Wolinsky, Dana Gabuzda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Lung disease is a common comorbidity in people with HIV/AIDS, independent of smoking status. The effects of marijuana smoking on risk of lung disease in HIV-infected individuals are unclear. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, we quantified lung disease risk among men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), a long-term observational cohort of HIV-infected and uninfected men who have sex with men. Eligible participants were aged ≥ 30 years with self-reported marijuana and tobacco smoking data from biannual study visits between 1996 and 2014. Pulmonary diagnoses were obtained from self-report and medical records. Analyses were performed using Cox models and Generalized Estimating Equations adjusted for tobacco smoking, CD4 T cell count, and other risk factors. Findings: 1630 incident pulmonary diagnoses were reported among 1352 HIV-seropositive and 1352 HIV-seronegative eligible participants matched for race and baseline age (53,794 total person-visits, median follow-up 10.5 years). 27% of HIV-infected participants reported daily or weekly marijuana smoking for one or more years in follow-up, compared to 18% of uninfected participants (median 4·0 and 4·5 years daily/weekly use, respectively). HIV-infected participants had an increased likelihood of infectious or non-infectious pulmonary diagnoses compared to uninfected participants (33·2% vs. 21·5%, and 20·6% vs. 17·2%, respectively). Among HIV-infected participants, recent marijuana smoking was associated with increased risk of infectious pulmonary diagnoses and chronic bronchitis independent of tobacco smoking and other risk factors for lung disease (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] 1·43 [1·09–1·86], and 1·54 [1·11–2·13], respectively); these risks were additive in participants smoking both substances. There was no association between marijuana smoking and pulmonary diagnoses in HIV-uninfected participants. Interpretation: In this longitudinal study, long-term marijuana smoking was associated with lung disease independent of tobacco smoking and other risk factors in HIV-infected individuals. These findings could be used to reduce modifiable risks of lung disease in high-risk populations. Funding: U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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